I fell in love in middle school.
It wasn’t a ‘love at first sight’ type of love
or even a storybook romance
but it is my love story and
24 years later,
I can still remember that first time we were introduced
as if it were yesterday.
I remember hearing the final school bell ring
and slowly walking to my locker,
pulling the rusty door open and tossing in my books
amidst the crumpled papers of the previous week’s homework.
The hallway bustle began to quiet
as I quickly jammed my backpack full of the necessary
books to complete my nightly assignments.
As I went to close the door,
the drawstring bag hanging on the hook
once again caught my eye.
Stuffed with shoes and clothes,
this bag represented the turmoil in my heart.
I knew I had to make a split second decision and
as I waffled between staying or going,
I let fear win.
I snatched the bag off the hook,
slammed the door,
and quickly began to make my way to the bus loading area.
My mind was made up,
I was quitting before I even began.
I decided to listen to the words
I had been hearing my entire life.
The ones that
continually reminded me
that I didn’t measure up
and no matter what I did
I couldn’t be the star I needed to be.
My pace quickened
as I realized the hum of the students had vanished
which meant my time was running short.
As I sprinted past the front window
a flash of yellow caught my eye.
I stopped mid stride, my breath caught in my throat
as I watched the first bus began to pull away.
I was too late. I was a minute too late.
Tears filled my eyes as I realized that
the decision I thought I had to make
was actually already made for me
there was no turning back.
As I turned and walked back down the hallway,
my heartbeat thumped so loudly in my ears
that I was completely oblivious to the chorus of laughter
coming from the other students still lingering around
until I saw their faces
and knew that they had to be laughing at me.
I hung my head and scurried past into the locker room
where I quickly found an unoccupied stall
and let the tears freely fall.
What had I gotten myself into?
My heart said “give it your best shot”
while my head
and reminded myself of all of the other things I had tried
There was no doubt
this would just be another addition to my list
but I had no choice
I was here
and practice was about to begin.
*to be continued…